Author: Richard Greeman

Richard Greeman is a Marxist scholar long active in human rights, anti-war, anti-nuclear, environmental and labor struggles in the U.S., Latin America, France, and Russia. Greeman is best known for his studies and translations of the Franco-Russian novelist and revolutionary Victor Serge (1890–1947). Greeman also writes regularly about politics, international class struggles and revolutionary theory. Co-founder of the Praxis Research and Education Center in Moscow, Russia, and director of the International Victor Serge Foundation, Greeman splits his time between Montpellier, France and New York City.

Ukraine, Coup or Revolution?

The Ukraine is no longer ‘in flames.’ With the hurried flight of the detested Yanukovich, peace and order have descended on Kiev (except for some fistfights in the Parliament!) There is no looting. Self-organized popular militias protect the luxurious Presidential Palace (privatized by Yanukovich) as crowds of citizen file through to gape at his collections of antique and modern automobiles.

A Letter from Ukraine

Dear Friends,

As the uprising in Ukraine seems to be coming to a crisis after weeks of mass demonstrations and occupations, I would like to translate for you the following letter received last week from Julia Gusseva, the Russian translator of Victor Serge and co-organizer of the International Conference of Independent Labor Unions in Kiev last November. Julia, an activist since the ‘80s, is one of the founders of the Praxis Center in Moscow, and writes from an anarcho-syndicalist viewpoint.

On the 70th Anniversary of Victor Serge’s Memoirs of a Revolutionary

Seventy years ago, Victor Serge put the finishing touches on his masterpiece — Memoirs of a Revolutionary: 1903-1941 — which he (correctly) considered “unpublishable” in his lifetime. On February 28, 1943 he wrote the following entry in one of his Carnets (Notebooks), which recently came to light in Mexico and were published for the first time in France in 2012.[1]

Europe at a Dark Crossroads: Letter from France

ImageWhen New Politics asked me this July to write a piece about France under the new Socialist government, I excitedly drove out to Serviers-et-La Baume — my Provençal sweetheart Elyane’s little village located in the heart of la France profonde — to interview her rural neighbor Robert about this big change (and sip some of his home-made plum brandy).

Scrooge Accepts Nobel Peace Prize

     Brussels, Chrismas Eve, 2012. (From our Special Correspondent). Reactions were sharply divided here in Euroland to Stockholm's award of the 2012 Nobel Peace Prize to the European Union (EU) in recognition of its efforts to promote the moral values of fiscal discipline and responsibility through the Euro.

Russia, The Return of the Revolution: An Appeal

     “Yesterday (Feb. 4, 2012) more than 100 000 people marched on the streets in the centre of Moscow despite severe cold (-20C) demanding free and fair elections and the end of Vladimir Putin’s authoritarian rule. Following on the mass demonstrations of December 10th and 24th in Moscow, in which tens of thousands of people took part, this shows clearly that the period of social passivity in Russia is over; the Putin era is nearing its end.

A Taxonomy of Capitalist Sharks

     Trying to reform Capitalism is a futile as preaching Vegetarianism to a Shark. And nearly as dangerous. Stay away from those gaping greedy Jaws if you don’t want to get eaten alive—the sorry Fate of many idealistic Liberals and Social Democrats! (See fig. 1)

Behind the Euro Crisis: Germany Gambles on the Old Dream of European Hegemony

     German industrial and financial power is the key to understanding the complex and often confusing international maneuvers around the Crisis of the Euro. Germany is Europe’s industrial powerhouse, the only country that has survived the Great Recession with a healthy economy, low unemployment, rising GDP, social stability and a favorable balance of trade. Yet, only within the solid framework of a strong European Union can Germany, Europe’s principal creditor nation, ever hope to collect on her Southern European loans and investments.

Insurance: A Legalized Racket

     "HEALTH INSURERS PUSH PREMIUMS Sharply Higher" headlines today's NY Times, with double-digit increases of up to 80 percent at a time when premiums are averaging over $15,000 a year (up 9 percent from the previous year!)

General Strikes and Massive Demonstrations Challenge Neoliberal Reforms in France

Since the Crash of 2008, European governments and the banks that control them have been trying to make the working people pay the bill for the massive bailouts that saved the financial markets from near-total collapse. As in the United States, a previously undetected "debt crisis" has been declared while traders continue to pay themselves fabulous salaries and bonuses. Suddenly there is "no money" when it comes to paying for the health, education, retirement, and social services that benefit the general public.

How the Islamic "virus" broke out of the imperialist laboratory

[Editor's note: This article continues Richard Greeman's series about Islamism.] Over the years, the British-backed Moslem Brotherhood’s activities spread far beyond Egypt. Not by coincidence did the first Arabic translation of “The Protocols of the Elders of Zion,” still in circulation today, appear in Egypt the 1920"s. This anti-Semitic forgery was created by the Imperial Russian secret services around 1905 in order to designate a scapegoat and divert the growing Russian revolutionary movement into reactionary channels (pogroms, Black Hundreds).

Inventing Islam

In what concrete ways can it be said that the West “invents” what it calls Islamism ? Contemporary imperialism inadvertently spreads Islamic militantism by stirring up the ME/A hornets’ nest through torture-camps and attacks on civilians. But Western agents have long supported Islamic movements in the region as a way to divert nationalism and democracy. Historically, the British Intelligence Service nurtured the Islamicist movement at its very origin.

Moslem Disunity

For a movement to be a serious threat to the imperialist West, it must be coherent and united, which is simply not the case of what is termed "Radical Islam." A united, militant Islamic world would indeed be a serious threat to the West, but nothing like that is in the offing, with the result that “Political Islam,” divided, remains weak and ineffectual. So much for the Clash of Civilizations theories, based on ideology rather than concrete history.

Actually-existing Islamic movements and states

Editor's note: This is the seventh article in a series by Richard Greeman about Islamism. U.S. imperialism, deluded by its own ideology, has joined the March of Folly in Afghanistan/West Pakistan — following in the illustrious footsteps of other would-be conquerors including the Persian Emperor Darius I, Alexander the Great, the British Empire under Queen Victoria and Brezhnev's Soviet Russian empire. All these great powers lost whole armies in the region before being driven out by the fiercely independent natives, as we have seen in previous articles. The U.S.

The U.S. March of Folly in the Middle-East

Does desperation alone account for reckless escalation of U.S. military aggression in the Middle East for which the “threat” of an aggressive Islamism provides the rationalization? To be sure, the  worsening world economic crisis directly conditions the international context, aggravating U.S. capital’s frantic rush to control the world’s remaining oil reserves. America's willingness to use excessive force and to go it alone also serves to intimidate would-be imperialist rivals like China, Russia and France, so as to retain its lion’s share.

Obama's Dangerous Escalations

Obama’s decision to radically escalate the wars he was ostensibly elected to terminate is a measure of U.S. imperialism's desperation. It’s not just that our erstwhile peace candidate and future Nobel peace laureate is withdrawing exhausted U.S. troops from the frying pan of Iraq only to transfer them into the fire of Afghanistan, although that itself was an act of desperation. Many of these “volunteer” soldiers and reservists, shattered after several devastating tours of duty in Iraq, are being forced to remain in the service years beyond their contracts.

A Clash of Fundamentalisms

In our previous articles, we emphasized the ideological nature of today’s problematic Islamic “threat.” Historically this “threat” fits into an established tradition of hysterical propaganda campaigns – whether against “Indians,” “Negroes” or “Reds” — which distort and exaggerate real and potential challenges to U.S. capitalism /imperialism so as to justify violence, state terror and wars of plunder. If the truth is “the first casualty” in war, then democracy is the second. Although framed by the U.S.

Contextualizing the Threat of Radical Islam: “Urgent Threats” of Yesteryear

[Editor’s note: This is the second in a series by Richard Greeman.] To understand the lunacy of the problematic Islamic “threat” currently being hyped in mainstream U.S. political discourse, we need to place the concept in the historical context of Western, particularly U.S. imperialism’s collective self-image. White American identity has from the beginning defined itself in opposition a dangerous, threatening, darker “other” who had to be conquered, subdued, and/or exterminated : in the first instance the “savages” native to the Americas.

Contextualizing the Threat of Radical Islam

Note: This article begins a series by Richard Greeman. Longtime socialist and international activist Richard Greeman is best know for his studies and translations of Victor Serge, the Franco-Russian novelist and revolutionary.